Miami Football: 5 Things to Look for in the Spring Game
After 12 practices and two intra-squad scrimmages in March and April, the Miami Hurricanes' football team will head to Sun Life Stadium for the annual spring game to complete spring practice.
Miami finished its final workout on Thursday, and most of the team made it through spring ball relatively unscathed injury-wise.
The spring game is at 3 p.m. EST on Saturday, April 13 and can be seen on ESPN3.
I will also be covering the game, so check back for updates throughout Saturday.
Here are five things to look for in the spring game.
Backup Quarterback Battle
Ryan Williams is the second-string quarterback, but redshirt freshman Gray Crow is hot on the trail of the junior.
Golden, however, has been impressed with Crow as The Miami Herald noted he said, "Gray is a little bit ahead of Preston (Dewey) right now...Ryan and Gray are fighting for No. 2."
Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post says Crow has started to make his mark this spring.
Preston Dewey is in the hunt, but the race for the backup job is between Williams and Crow as Golden said.
Watch for both Williams and Crow try to separate himself from the other throughout the day.
Wide Receiver and Tight End Drops
Between the talented groups at both wide receivers and tight end, Miami has plenty of weapons for quarterback Stephen Morris to utilize.
But it's no secret that the pass-catching group for the Hurricanes has been unreliable at times.
For example, sophomore Herb Waters impressed in the first scrimmage of the spring with a long touchdown, but he also had three drops.
Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald notes Allen Hurns—who is one of the more reliable receivers—likely will not play on Saturday. This means his teammates will have to step up in his absence, even if it's "just the spring game."
Catching the ball has recently been a problem of all or nothing for Hurricanes' receivers, and that needs to change for Miami to make some serious noise in the conference.
Defensive Line Play
I've worn out the subject, I know, so I'll make this one short and sweet.
The defensive line wasn't good last season, and they need to improve drastically in 2013.
Michael Casagrande of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel notes the current group is "trading criticism for confidence."
Anthony Chickillo, Kelvin Cain and Dwayne Hoilett were all "winners" in Milian's review of the second scrimmage, so a few players have already stood out so far.
To my count, a solid group of 15 defensive linemen have a chance to impress the coaches on Saturday.
Dyron Dye and Jelani Hamilton both suffered injuries in spring practice and will not participate in the spring game.
Emerging, Fading Linebackers
Newcomer Alex Figueroa certainly made his impact early in the spring already donning a coveted black jersey denoting the hardest workers.
Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald says sophomore Raphael Kirby is already making his presence felt with some big hits.
Veteran Denzel Perryman started spring in a black jersey, but behind a paywall Rivals.com notes Golden said Perryman faded into a green jersey due to inconsistency.
Figueroa and Kirby are trending upwards, but Perryman is going the wrong way.
Watch for the two younger players to continue their hot streak and see if Denzel can turn things around.
I'll cut right to the chase for this one.
You know about as much as I do concerning this slide.
Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald tweeted the cliffhanger early on Thursday.
Golden said he drew up rosters for Saturday's scrimmage with interesting matchups in mind. It won't just be 1s vs. 1s #UM— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) April 11, 2013
Whether this means Golden pitting a starting group against the collective second-stringers opposite (OL vs. DL, WR vs. CB, etc.) or specific head-to-head matchups, I have no idea.
But, what I do know, is that Golden's pairings will most definitely be, as Navarro noted, interesting.
The matchups may be a little difficult to spot at first, but watch for these Golden masterpieces throughout the spring game.